Discover the Italian lagos, or lakes, on a journey through picturesque villages, scenic mountains, and aristocratic villas. The lakes sparkle in the sun with scenic views from every angle. Whether you are visiting the churches, museums, or villas, enjoying a cup of coffee at a waterfront café, or wandering the cobblestoned village streets, this region represents the beauty and culture of Italy. A holiday to the Italian lakes is different than an adventure in Rome or Florence. Take your time to immerse yourself in the experience. The four most popular lakes include Maggiore, Como, Garda, and Lugano, each with its own charm. Ready for an authentic tour of the Italian lakes?
Best Time of Year to Visit the Italian Lakes
The high season to travel to the Italian lakes is May, June, and September. July and August are the hottest months and also the common holiday time for Italians and other Europeans, so the hotels and sights may get crowded. April is springtime in Italy, but the weather is less predictable. The Italian “off-season” winter months (October through March) are cooler and rainier, as the region is in the mountainous north, with precipitation blowing in from the south. During October to March, crowds disappear and prices drop. You can find some great travel deals! This time of year is a good time to see the breathtaking snow-capped mountains.
Plan ahead with Earlybird Specials on Business Class and Premium Economy flights to Europe.
MUST SEE LAKES
Have you ever imagined what it feels like to be George Clooney on holiday? Well, Lake Como is the place! Como hosts visitors from Italian government officials and socialites to Hollywood celebrities such as George Clooney and Richard Branson. Known as Italy’s most sophisticated lake, Como pairs architectural history with natural beauty in its mountains and gardens. Visit the highlight of Lake Como in Bellagio, a beautiful hillside village with local boutiques, cobblestoned streets and colorful villas. Bellagio is easily accessible with a ferry ride from the western to the eastern shore. Las Vegas even has a hotel named after this village due to its renowned beauty. For a more medieval atmosphere, explore Varenna and Bellano, two fishing villages with immense culture in their gardens, castles, and architecture.
Maggiore, the second largest lake in Italy, has the beauty of Como, but with a slightly busier atmosphere. The lake was originally created by a glacier, with mountains to the north and hills to the south. The most popular side of Maggiore is along the western edge, where beautiful villages line the lakeside shores.
Interested in artisan boutiques? Stop by the village of Stresa for some shopping and local Italian dining. Want to visit Switzerland? Well, the northern part of Lake Maggiore extends across the border from Italy into Switzerland. If you have time to spare, take a boat ride to three picturesque islands in the center of Maggiore.
Garda is the largest of the lakes and the most popular for families, with waters perfect for swimming, sailing, and windsurfing in the summer months. Enjoy the day by the water and finish your evening with dinner at one of the authentic local restaurants. To experience an Italian “spa town,” visit Sirmione on the south shore. What makes Garda unique is the diversity of landscapes on the different shorelines. The eastern side has smaller villages with Roman ruins and museums. The southern side showcases beautiful beaches. The northern shoreline boasts rocky cliffs. While you circle around Lake Garda, don’t miss the breathtaking views of the Alps to the north and the hills to the south. For kids, the Gardaland amusement park is a popular destination.
Just like Como, Lugano is known for its chic and refined atmosphere. However, you must cross the border into Switzerland in order to reach this beautiful lake. For those of you that like to shop, Via Nassa is the perfect place to feel like a local as you explore the area.
Other highlights of the Italian lakes region:
- Milan: Stop by the Duomo, and shop in luxury brand retail at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
- Venice: Ride a gondola and walk the cobbled streets along the famous canals
- Verona: Visit Juliet’s (Romeo and Juliet) balcony
- Lake Trasimeno
- Lake Orta
- Lake Massaciuccoli
- Lake Bolsena
Homemade pasta, wood-fired oven pizza, wine from local vineyards, fresh-brewed Italian coffee, Tiramisu, and Limoncello. All are true Italian specialties that you must try while in Italy. Be sure to taste the world-renowned olive oils in Lake Como.
The Italian lakes offer you a taste of low-key sophistication, tradition, and history that embodies the culture of Italy. If you have the time, travel a fabulous journey from Milan, through the lakes, to Venice. This unforgettable region offers the romance for couples and the fun for families. Plan your next trip to Europe in Italy’s lakes!